Vegan Lau Lau. Learning from the land.
"Ua mau ke ea o ka ʻaina i ka pono"
- Kamehameha III
The life of the land is perpetuated in rightousness.
From left to right and then back around we have: lau kalo (kalo leaf), 'uala (sweet potato), 'ulu (breadfruit), onion, lau ki (ti leaf), kalo, 'olena (Curcuma longa & amada), garlic, and a lau lau bundle with all the ingredients ready to be wrapped!
We have been taking turns cooking community dinners since our new kitchen was built (right around the time quarantine started)!
This weekend, since we currently have an abundance of onions and sweet potatoes, I thought I might share what I have learned about making lau lau with the rest of the farm crew.
In the morning I harvested some kalo from the garden. We don't have much that is ready for market yet, but we have a few Hawaiian varieties of huli growing that have much smaller corms and produce more keiki. I spent some time processing and replanting the huli while saving some lau for the dish.
Look at these beautiful huli!
When I was ready to get started, I gathered ti leaf and then some lau from the big 5 keiki variety of taro that we focus on growing in the field. The leaves are huge right now! I also gathered some of the not marketable sweet potatoes, onions, and the two varieties of turmeric we have been enjoying in the community. We harvested an ulu, and we were ready to start chopping.
I cleaned up the taro and chopped sweet potato. Hannah cleaned and chopped onions and peeled garlic. Taylor chopped the ulu. Kristian chopped up the taro and turmeric. And we were ready! We made a few wraps and realized we forgot about the final step!
So we took a break and spent some time deboning the ti leaf. Liz had to go on the hunt for more, but we ended with the perfect amount, plus a few extra.
Wrapping up the bundles of all these goodies was defintiely the trickiest part. Since we had so much delicious produce to work with, we ended up with an extra large product.
When we finished tying these up, we loaded them up in a few huge steamer pot and also put some in a pressure cooker. The pressure cooker should be a quicker cook, generally about 45 minutes. The steamer pots worked well also, since we stacked about 4 heavy rocks on the lid to keep the steam in. All in all, we let everything cook for about 2 hours.
We cooked up some rice with dulse seaweed. Threw in some sesame seeds, and served it with the lau lau. It seemed like we had made so much food, but it was devoured so quickly! We didn't even think to take a picture of the final product we were so hungry and satisfied.
It is so special to connect with the land and a culture through the traditions involving food. We are so grateful to be working together with the 'aina. Mahalo Hawaii. Mahalo Kauai. Mahalo to all the kanaka who welcome us into their homeland.
What a lucky place to be during times like these. Aloha, mahalo.